Dr. Tim Clinton: Thanks for inviting us to be a part of your day. We're going to get through this challenging time together. Let's go now to today's presentation.
Ryan Dobson: You're listening to a special edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk, featuring an interview from the ministry's special 10th anniversary CD collection. This interview was recorded in 2016 when Dr. Dobson sat down with fellow evangelical and national faith leader, Anne Graham Lotz. The New York Times named Anne one of the five most influential evangelists of her generation. Called the best preacher in her family by her father, Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz speaks around the globe with the wisdom and certainty of years spent studying God's Word.
I'm Ryan Dobson, a voice you may recognize from the early days of Family Talk, and I am here to introduce this special program, which revolves around the central idea of prayer. These days, given our world situation, you're probably praying more often, perhaps for our nation, our world, and for the safety of families everywhere who need words of encouragement and spiritual direction. My Dad's interview with Anne Graham Lotz is something you will hopefully find endearing. The two-part interview centers on the power and influence of our prayers. Let's not wait any longer. Here is part one of the special interview entitled The Daniel Prayer, from The Family Talk Archives for you and in honor of Family Talk's 10th anniversary.
Dr. Dobson: Anne, we're so delighted to have you with us today.
Anne Graham Lotz: Dr. Dobson, it's always a joy to be with you. I love talking with you, whether it's publicly or privately.
Dr. Dobson: You came from North Carolina to be with us today. We had dinner, Shirley and I did with you last night, and I just appreciate so much the stands that you take. They're not always popular. You have been willing to be bold in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That's what you care about more than anything else, isn't it?
Anne Graham Lotz: Well, it's our hope, isn't it? I love The Lord Jesus Christ and God loves us. We love Him because He first loved us and He brought us into existence knowing that we would rebel against Him in sin and He loved us so much he just gave us Jesus, that we might know Him in a personal relationship, so [crosstalk 00:03:32]-
Dr. Dobson: Anne, how do you carry the load that you do? AnGeL Ministry and all of the speaking that you're doing, videos. Coming up, you got a deadline on that. Just how do you stay ahead of it all?
Anne Graham Lotz: You know, one of the things I think you need to do is make sure that what I'm doing is something God's called me to do. I remember my mother saying that God will give you strength for the things he calls you to do, but He's not going to give you strength for the other things, so we can't wear ourselves out doing things that He hasn't called us to do. I love to serve The Lord and I feel time is short and I believe any day I may be seeing Jesus face to face and I want to buy up the time that I have. I want to use it for His Glory. I love [crosstalk 00:04:17]-
Dr. Dobson: Yeah, that's [crosstalk 00:04:17] what drives me, too, Anne, because I know I will be standing before him-
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right.
Dr. Dobson: -before very long.
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right.
Dr. Dobson: You lost your beloved husband, didn't you?
Anne Graham Lotz: One of the blessings, God has just poured out His blessings on me in the last year, and so I've tried to focus on His blessings and not focus so much on the grief and the pain and the loss because-
Dr. Dobson: You were his caregiver?
Anne Graham Lotz: Yes, I was his caregiver for three years. He had adult 1 diabetes that just caused him to go into many complications. He was on kidney dialysis three times a week, he had heart issues, he was blind in one eye, deaf in one ear. He couldn't feel... I mean, it was just so many issues. He was an amazingly resilient person, but I feel that God has allowed me to have as much to do as I'm doing now, and it's been a way of escape.
I've been able to overcome a lot of the pain and grief I think that other women my age might go through because they have time to think about it, time to dwell on it, and I don't. I'm just moving right along and I believe God called my husband home. I believe that was God's time for my husband, and at the same time, it was God's time for me to be free of the caregiving. I felt God spoke to me from Isaiah 26 telling me to come home, shut the door, and I was to take care of my husband [crosstalk 00:05:36]-
Dr. Dobson: How did [crosstalk 00:05:37] you deal with the pressures associated with taking care of a dying man?
Anne Graham Lotz: Well, he didn't seem like he was dying. He was not bedridden. We had just spent Sunday afternoon going out to the University of North Carolina where he was for the supports, Coach Sylvia Hatchell. He had just gone out to lunch with friends and he was on a walker. He had to have people with him who could take care of him in an emergency. He was out by the pool, had been there visiting with my daughter, and then she left.
Next thing I know, I went out to find him and I found him in the water and he had gone home. When the doctors checked him, they said he had not drowned. He didn't have enough water in his lungs to indicate that he had drowned. I think he just walked into that water and God said, "It's time." My husband was a great big man. The way The Lord took him was gentle and there was no marks on his body, no sign of struggle at all. There was no trauma. He just went to sleep in the water, you know?
Dr. Dobson: He was a great athlete [crosstalk 00:06:39]-
Anne Graham Lotz: Yeah [crosstalk 00:06:39]-
Dr. Dobson: Wasn't he?
Anne Graham Lotz: He was a world-class athlete. All-American basketball player, made the All Service Team, came within one person of making the Olympic Team when he tried out and won the National Championship when he played basketball.
Dr. Dobson: Against Wilt Chamberlain-
Anne Graham Lotz: Yeah.
Dr. Dobson: And beat him [crosstalk 00:06:55]-
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right. Yeah, that's right.
Dr. Dobson: That's the amazing thing.
Anne Graham Lotz: They beat him in triple overtime, so that [crosstalk 00:06:58] was amazing. Dr. Dobson, we just put things in God's hands and God... It was traumatic for me, but if I just have eyes to see, that was a beautiful way for Him to take my husband, and my husband wanted to go. He was tired, and so we have just turned the corner and one of the things, I had finished writing The Daniel Prayer, which is the book I know we're going to discuss.
Dr. Dobson: Yes.
Anne Graham Lotz: And on the day I found him, I can tell you I prayed a Daniel prayer, which is just a heart's cry to God. It's not your normal kind of intersession or prayer. It's a desperate cry to God, and God's answer [crosstalk 00:07:38]-
Dr. Dobson: It's called fervent-
Anne Graham Lotz: Fervent-
Dr. Dobson: Fervent prayer-
Anne Graham Lotz: Yeah [crosstalk 00:07:41]-
Dr. Dobson: By James [crosstalk 00:07:42]-
Anne Graham Lotz: Yes. Yeah, fervent, set aside, focused, intense, and so there are times in our lives, it's not your everyday, "Now I lay me down to sleep" kind of prayer. It's a very unique prayer that Daniel prayed on behalf of his nation and God answered his prayer to the extent that his nation was restored to their place of blessing. They were set free from captivity. It's a prayer that works. It moves Heaven and it changes nations.
Dr. Dobson: This is an absolutely wonderful book. It's been so well received in the marketplace. In fact, it's on all of the best seller lists and God gave you this message, didn't he?
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right. You know, it's so interesting, isn't it? I remember speaking from Daniel. It's based on Daniel 9 and I spoke from it may be 20 years ago at Mission World down in San Juan. It went out to 500,000 pastors. And I wrote that book, Dr. Dobson, in five weeks. When I sat down at the computer, it poured out of me. I'd been meditating on Daniel 9 for at least 15, 20 years, so it was in my heart. If we let The Lord lead, He has a plan and it's very encouraging. If He has a plan for my book and my life and The National Day of Prayer, you can bet He has a plan for our nation and for our world.
Dr. Dobson: Well, because the theme of the book is Daniel's Prayer, I think it would be good to start a discussion of the content by reading his prayer. You already mentioned the ninth chapter of Daniel. Starting with the fourth verse, I read to today, it is so powerful. Give us the background now. He was in exile. His nation had been overrun by Nebuchadnezzar and a few of the survivors were taken into exile and he was one of them. He was a young man, but The Lord had a plan for him. How deep into his period of exile do you think this prayer was prayed?
Anne Graham Lotz: He had been... Actually, it was not just exile, he was in captivity. He was captured [crosstalk 00:09:52]-
Dr. Dobson: Yes.
Anne Graham Lotz: He was enslaved. He was Nebuchadnezzar's slave so that his name was changed, he was emasculated. They tried to brainwash him into the Babylonian way of thinking. He was there to serve and to live for Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel, from the time he was a youth, he made the decision he would not defile himself, so he set his focus on The Lord. His life story is amazing and I've weaved his life story through the book because it's a setup for the prayer, but he had been in captivity as a slave to Nebuchadnezzar and then to Belshazzar and then to Darius for 67 years. He was in his mid-80s when he prayed this prayer [crosstalk 00:10:30]-
Dr. Dobson: Their exile lasted for 70 years-
Anne Graham Lotz: 70 years, that's right [crosstalk 00:10:33]-
Dr. Dobson: So it was right near the end-
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right.
Dr. Dobson: Of that period.
Anne Graham Lotz: The neat thing that is a wonderful application for us, he had been reading The Book of Jeremiah, reading Jeremiah's prophecies, so he was reading his Bible when he came across a promise that God said, "After 70 years, I'll bring you back from captivity if you seek Me with all of your heart." He's actually taking God's Word and God's Promise and he's praying it back to God. It's what Eugene Peterson calls "reverse thunder", when you take God's Word and you hold Him to it and you pray it back to Him. Daniel's Prayer is really Daniel's way of taking that promise and saying, "God, You said after 70 years that You would bring us back, so now I'm holding You to Your Word." This is the prayer that he prayed as he claimed that promise.
Dr. Dobson: Some of our listeners may want to open a Bible and read along with you, Anne, as you read this agonizing passage in Daniel 9:4-20.
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right, of Daniel, and I'll read out of the New International Version, but I will tell you it's one of the earlier versions, so it's 1978, in case somebody's reading in a later NIV. He begins and he says, "Oh Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His commands. We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws. We have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all of the people in the land.
"Lord, You are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame- the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to You. Oh Lord, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers, are covered with shame because we have sinned against You. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed The Lord our God or kept the laws He gave us through His servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed Your law and turned away, refusing to obey You.
"Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us because we have sinned against You. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole Heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all of this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of The Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to Your truth. The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for The Lord our God is righteous in everything He does; yet we have not obeyed him.
"Now, oh Lord our God, who brought Your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and made for Yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Oh Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away Your anger and Your wrath from Jerusalem, Your city, Your holy hill. Our sins and the inequities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and Your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
"Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of Your servant. For Your sake, oh Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, oh God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears Your name. We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. Oh Lord, listen! Oh Lord, forgive! Oh Lord, hear and act! For Your sake, oh my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people bear your name."
Dr. Dobson: Can't you imagine Daniel crying as he was speaking those words?
Anne Graham Lotz: Well, it says in the very beginning he smeared himself with ashes. He was dressed in sackcloth. He was fasting. He turned to The Lord God, which meant he turned away from everything else. I expect he was on his face, just pleading with God on behalf of his people who, because of their sin, had come under God's judgment and were separated from their place of blessing.
Dr. Dobson: He might well be talking about America there.
Anne Graham Lotz: Yeah.
Dr. Dobson: Have we deserved the same evaluation?
Anne Graham Lotz: You know, it's so interesting, isn't it? You could go through there... I remember speaking to 500 pastors right after 9/11 and they were gathered near Ground Zero in a hotel ballroom. I spoke from Daniel 9 and it was eerie. The next morning, I was on a major morning talk show and the host brought up this, because when you read, nothing like this has ever happened before that has happened to this city, and she was accusing me of saying that God had done this in 9/11. I told her I was talking about Jerusalem. Daniel was praying for his city Jerusalem that had experienced that kind of judgment, but it was so evident to her that she had quickly made that leap that this was speaking of New York City and America.
God sent Nebuchadnezzar, the Bible is clear about that, to bring judgment on His people. I don't believe 9/11 was something that God did at all and I've made that very clear, but I believe He allowed it, and I believe it was a wake-up call. God telling especially his people, "Wake up", because we need to repent of our sin. We need to turn to God. Something worse is coming if you don't because Romans 1 tells us that when we sin and rebel against God and we refuse to repent, God backs away from us.
Then, if we still sin, refuse to repent, God backs further away from us. We keep rebelling, we keep refusing to repent. He removes His hand of blessing, His hand of protection, His presence from our nation, and I believe we're in a Romans 1 judgment right now if you want to call it a judgment. It's just where we've told God to get out and we've shaken our fist in His face and God, who's a gentleman and doesn't go where we insist that He get out, He's backing away until... He's allowing our nation to be subjected to things that otherwise He would protect us from.
Dr. Dobson: Do you believe if we do not repent and we do not call for mercy and we do not turn from our wicked ways that God's judgment will fall on us as well?
Anne Graham Lotz: I believe things will get worse and because what's wrong with America right now is that we need God and we've told Him to get out. This is what you get when God gets out, when you take Him out of the schools, you take Him out of the marketplace, you take Him out of our government, you take Him out of our public discourse, and I'm talking [crosstalk 00:17:30]-
Dr. Dobson: There are consequences [crosstalk 00:17:30]-
Anne Graham Lotz: -about the God of Abraham [crosstalk 00:17:31]-
Dr. Dobson: For that.
Anne Graham Lotz: Yes. I'm talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dr. Dobson: You mentioned three grievous sins in this book that America is guilty over.
Anne Graham Lotz: I do, and I would prefer not to pull them out because they are such lightning rods, when really the sin I believe it's like Jesus said in Matthew 24, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it would be the coming of the Son of Man." The coming of the Son of Man is a time period when Jesus comes back. He raptures the church, we go through tribulation, then He comes back to rule, but it's the time of judgment. As in the days of Noah, so it'll be at the final judgment. People will eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage. They had no idea the flood was coming until it swept them all away in Noah's day.
Nothing is wrong with eating and drinking and marrying, giving in marriage, except they did it without God. I think our greatest sin is that we have removed God from everything and we're trying to live life apart from him. You can't do that, and if you do, you come up with what we're seeing in our nation today, which is chaos. Our nation is imploding. We are disintegrating, and it's because we have forsaken our foundation of faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It's very grievous to me as a believer, as a follower of Jesus, and as an American, to see what's happening. At the same time, I remember Joel 2, when Joel the prophet in the Old Testament and he said... He was prophesying all of this judgment that was coming on Judah, but then he said, "If you would rend your heart and not your garments-
Dr. Dobson: Yes.
Anne Graham Lotz: "If you would return to The Lord your God, who knows? But He would return to you and leave behind a blessing instead of judgment." One of the things that is very encouraging is that so many people today are called to prayer. There are many different organizations, churches, individual groups who are calling the nation to prayer. God wouldn't be stirring us up to pray if He didn't want an answer.
It may be that what we're seeing in our nation, which is the chaos, the environmental disasters, the social disasters, the political polarization, maybe that's God answering our prayer to make His people so desperate that we'll pray like Daniel did. We'll cry out to Him and then He'll answer our prayer and send down His Spirit in a great awakening or a revival.
Dr. Dobson: Well, there have been two such awakenings in the history of this country and the Western world. The first and second were characterized by a nationwide revival. That's the heart cry of your life, isn't [crosstalk 00:20:15] it?
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right.
Dr. Dobson: There will be another third Great Awakening.
Anne Graham Lotz: I think I'm not the only one. There's so many people. I'm not sure I believe there will be one before the return of Jesus, but I'm working very hard for it. I'm praying for it and I believe God has put it on my heart to pray for, so I feel like it must be in His heart to give. One of the secrets to effective prayer is to be in God's Word to the point that when He speaks to you in His Word, then you know what's on His heart and you pray that back to Him. That's what Daniel was doing.
He read in Jeremiah that God said, "I'll bring you back after 70 years", so he prays that back to God. That God would put on my heart and the hearts of so many other people a prayer for national repentance and a national return to the Cross of Jesus Christ. It may not be the whole nation, but at least in God's people, the people that call themselves Christians. If we would repent of our sin and return to the Cross and recommit ourselves to following Jesus as disciples, I believe God would hear our prayer and He would forgive our sin and He would heal our land.
Dr. Dobson: Shirley and I were talking with you last night about the Scriptures that we've been reading, starting with Isaiah and Jeremiah and Lamentations and Ezekiel and Daniel and Hosea and the others. They all follow a similar pattern. There is this foreboding of judgment that's about to befall the people of Israel. It is interspersed almost one to one with a promise to heal their land and to return and to forgive and to restore. It's amazing. God wants to do that.
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right.
Dr. Dobson: He says it over and over again [crosstalk 00:22:01].
Anne Graham Lotz: He doesn't want to judge, no.
Dr. Dobson: He does not want to.
Anne Graham Lotz: No, no, and I love it in this Daniel Prayer where he singles out... I pulled out four characteristics of God that he focuses in on. When he says, "You're the great and faithful God", that God is faithful to His promises, faithful to His covenant. He will be faithful to us also when He promises in Chronicle 7:14 that, "If we seek Him and pray and humble ourselves and turn from our sin, He will hear and forgive and heal." He's faithful to keep that word. Then, he acknowledges that God is a righteous God, that, "You have done this to Jerusalem and you've done this to Judah, and you did the right thing because we had sinned and you have sent us what we deserve." Then he says, "You're merciful and forgiving."
It's the same thing, and the neat thing is that the Cross is a picture of God's faithfulness to us sinners who deserve nothing more than judgment. God is righteous, and so if he brings judgment on us, we deserve it, but the flip side of that is that He loves us so much that he sent His own Son to take the judgment in our place. That's His goodness. As you see at the Cross, you see His righteousness, you see His goodness, and then His greatness. The power of God that Daniel mentioned in Moses' day when God set the people of Israel free and released them from Pharaoh's bondage in a great powerful display of what God can do, and Daniel saying, "God, if you could move Pharaoh's heart to let Your people go, you can move the heart of a Persian king to let us... Do it again."
If God could do that for the Children of Israel living in Egypt, He could do it for His own children living in Persia at that time, He can do it for us in America. He's the same God. The God of Daniel is our God, so the God that Daniel was praying to is still the faithful, righteous, good, loving, merciful, great, God, but He's waiting for us to cry out to Him, I believe, with all of our hearts.
Dr. Dobson: Anne, the time has gone by so quickly today. We've been talking to Anne Graham Lotz. She's written a new book called The Daniel Prayer, and I didn't mention the subtitle, Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations. That is so desperately what we need and I hope that many millions of people will read this book and realize that those stories we read about in both The Old Testament and The New are not just stories. They're not just made up kind of events, but they all tell the story of the restoration of sinful people and repentance and then ultimately salvation. That's the heart and soul of your ministry, isn't it?
Anne Graham Lotz: The book comes out of real-life experience. This was Daniel's real-life experience.
Dr. Dobson: Will you stay with us another day?
Anne Graham Lotz: I'd love to do that. Thank you.
Dr. Dobson: There's a lot more in this [crosstalk 00:24:50]-
Anne Graham Lotz: Oh, I'd love to [crosstalk 00:24:50]-
Dr. Dobson: -book we need to talk about.
Ryan Dobson: I'm Ryan Dobson, and you've been listening to my Dad's conversation with Anne Graham Lotz, today on Family Talk. This was a challenging message for all believers to cry out to God on behalf of America. When we pray like the prophet Daniel did for Israel, we are sure to see revival throughout this nation. Learn more about Anne's ministry and her many best-selling books by visiting today's broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org. Thank you for listening to this edition of Family Talk. Tune in tomorrow for the remainder of my Dad, Dr. James Dobson's enlightening interview with Anne Graham Lotz. That's next time on Family Talk.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.